Sunday, April 20, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

County supervisors hit the brakes on Dunnigan plan

WOODLAND — Yolo County supervisors on Tuesday refused to move forward with an environmental impact report for the Dunnigan Specific Plan, citing ongoing concerns that the project would not produce enough jobs to keep the town from becoming just another commuter suburb whose residents travel to work in Davis, Woodland or Sacramento.

In the works for more than a decade, the Dunnigan plan would be the largest land-use development proposal undertaken in Yolo County since the Southport Area Plan in 1982. It would transform Dunnigan — population 1,400 — into the county’s fourth-largest city by adding more than 9,000 new homes and, it’s hoped, more than 11,000 new jobs.

But whether those jobs would accompany all the new rooftops has been the primary concern of supervisors, who held a workshop on the plan in June and on Tuesday were urged by Dunnigan residents to allow them to move forward with an EIR.

Under the county’s existing General Plan, new developments like the Dunnigan Specific Plan are supposed to produce a balance of 1.2 jobs per household. As each phase of the new development is completed, the General Plan requires monitoring to ensure that the jobs-housing ratio is being achieved.

But at the June workshop, proponents of the plan, led by developer Elliott Homes, had reservations that it could achieve the required jobs/housing ratio in the initial phases of build-out. They said economic development will be challenging in Dunnigan in the early phases and until there is a large enough population of consumers and workers who would attract potential businesses.

That worried supervisors, including Jim Provenza of Davis, who said at the time, “My concern is if we build a couple thousand homes and the jobs aren’t going to be there, there’s still going to be pressure to keep building. Can we really do this… and not have the nightmare of a bunch of houses and people getting on the freeway to drive 50 miles to go to work?”

Reviews of the plan conducted since that workshop seem to back up those concerns.

A report by the Sacramento Area Council of Governments called the plan’s job projections “aggressive” for the manufacturing, retail and professional sectors. SACOG also said small communities often have difficulty attracting economic investment and that without a large-scale employer committing to locate in Dunnigan, it is unlikely that the employment projections will be fully met.

“It’s a very competitive environment for all cities and counties to attract jobs,” David Morrison, the county’s assistant director of planning and public works, noted on Tuesday. “It’s not going to be easy.”

Meanwhile, the county’s economic consultant, Bay Area Economics, estimated Dunnigan would produce between 7,700 and 8,700 jobs at full build-out, producing a jobs/housing balance of between 0.9 and 1.0 jobs per household, short of the 1.2 target set by the General Plan.

On Tuesday, proponents offered a plan that included job creation thresholds at each phase of build-out, so, for example, if after the first phase, 80 percent of the required jobs were created, phase two of housing construction would begin without restrictions. But if 60 to 80 percent of required jobs were created, phase two would begin with only 1,000 new homes being built. If only 40 to 60 percent of jobs had been created, only 500 houses would be built.

The plan didn’t mollify supervisors.

“I have a problem with starting out with a target way below the jobs/housing balance,” Provenza said. “Under this approach, we get to a place where we pretty much have to go ahead because we’ve built half the project (even if we don’t have the jobs).”

Supervisor Mike McGowan of West Sacramento said he wouldn’t vote for the project “without a guarantee that there will actually be jobs there when these houses are built,” and added that “this does not appear to be an achievable project.”

Dunnigan residents, however, urged the board to allow the project to move forward.

“Right now we have a lot of businesses that have approached us,” said Neil Busch, chairman of the Dunnigan Advisory Committee.

“They didn’t commit because they don’t want to commit resources to something that might not happen. We have to step forward. It’s not guaranteed, but a lot of things aren’t guaranteed.”

Price Walker of Elliott Homes told supervisors “we are going to work diligently for jobs.”

“We are not planning infrastructure for houses only,” Walker said. “Clearly there is reticence on rooftops only. We’ve heard you loud and clear. It’s pretty clear if we don’t get the jobs in the first phase, we can’t go forward.”

If the jobs are not there after the first phase, and the project doesn’t go forward, Morrison said Yolo County would be left with a city the size of Winters, “but without employers like Mariani, Buckhorn and Putah Creek Café.”

In the end, the board voted to take no action until proponents return with a revised plan that better addresses the jobs/housing balance.

— Reach Anne Ternus-Bellamy at aternus@davisenterprise.net or 530-747-8051. Follow her on Twitter at @ATernusBellamy

Anne Ternus-Bellamy

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

News

Hub of activity: DHS newspaper keeps evolving

By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
A springtime ritual

By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Holy fire ceremony draws thousands in Jerusalem

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
Tour Davis Waldorf School on Wednesday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
The fifth annual Tour de Cluck is soon to be hatched

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Ortiz lawn signs available

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Sign up soon for spring cooking classes

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Robb Davis team to rally on Saturday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Tour renovated YCCC facility Thursday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Steadfast in their support

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A4, 11 Comments | Gallery

 
Yolo Hospice offers free grief workshops

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Sign up for Camp Kesem caterpillar crawl

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Quilters gear up for annual show

By Sebastian Onate | From Page: A4

League hosts a series of candidate forums

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
KDVS launches fund drive on Monday

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A5

Calling all Scrabble fans

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Hub webpage is seeing traffic increasing

By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A8

Learn Chinese crafts at I-House

By Sebastian Onate | From Page: A16

 
Preschool open house set at Davis Waldorf

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16

Birch Lane celebrates its 50th anniversary

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16

 
Hotel/conference center info meeting set

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16

Lescroart welcomes all to book-launch party

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A16 | Gallery

 
DEVO set to serve up 14th annual Winkler Dinner

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16, 1 Comment | Gallery

.

Forum

Take ownership of your health

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

 
Not thrilled with lack of symmetry

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

Reliving the agony and ecstasy of spring

By Marion Franck | From Page: A7

 
Keep your baby safe

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

 
Vote no; it’s fiscally responsible

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12, 3 Comments

Rick McKee cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A12

 
Core values on campus

By Our View | From Page: A12, 3 Comments

 
Road diet? No, city diet!

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12, 5 Comments

We’re reveling in our equality

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12, 1 Comment

 
Bill is an affront to UC Davis ag biotech and local farmers

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A13, 3 Comments

Don’t want to sit in Fix 50 traffic? Consider alternatives

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A13, 1 Comment

 
.

Sports

Stars shine in Woody Wilson Classic

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Devils burn up the track

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
UCD softball shut out by Santa Barbara

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Aggie men shoot 9-under, lead own tourney

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
UCD roundup: Aggie baseball swept away by Highlanders

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

A’s score 3 in ninth, rally past Astros 4-3

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
.

Features

.

Arts

.

Business

Will Davis get an Old Soul?

By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A9

 
Pediatricians, nurse practitioner hired at Woodland Healthcare

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery

Asian stocks mostly higher after mixed U.S. earnings

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Yolo Federal Credit Union gets WISH funds

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

PG&E pays taxes, fees to county, cities

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9, 1 Comment

 
Davis Roots will showcase its graduating startups

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A14

University Honda wins another President’s Award

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A14 | Gallery

 
Dutch Bros. raises $19,000 for girl with leukemia

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A14 | Gallery

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Sunday, April 20, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B8